Tag Archives: relationships

Flippin’ Fun Over Fifty!

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Lake Chatuge (2)

We usually visit family for vacation, either at Lake Keowee, South Carolina or to the Blue Ridge mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. This year, though, procrastination combined forces with many unsuccessful, indecisive HomeAway and VRBO searches, leaving us without a viable option near family.

Well, to be honest, there were places left to rent, but I’m pretty picky when it comes to the few days a year I get to really relax and refresh from my busy life. I want fresh, clear water to swim and boat in. I want magnificent short and long range mountain views. I want comfy furniture with room to spread out, a porch with a view and plenty of windows for sunlight to stream in. I want a place that’s clean and up-to-date, not a moldy shower, sunken-bed and cob-web corner kind of place. Like I said, picky.

We end up a short two hours from family, in Hiawassee, Georgia. Amazing place. So amazing that I hesitate to write about it–for fear the world hears and rushes in! Of course, with only 512 Wonderful WordPress Followers, I calm myself on that question. The name “Hiawassee” comes from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi,” (meadow) but some say it is named for a Native American princess. Hiawassee is a picturesque small town in the mountains at the southern end of Lake Chatuge. The lake is spring-fed, a reservoir with 132 miles of mountainous shoreline. Within thirty minutes of Helen,

Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls, Blairsville and Brasstown Bald, we have our choice of short day trips to round out our lazy days on the lake. Our place, a townhouse we rent, is steps from the lake. It has all of the amenities on my “picky-list,” plus. The owner leaves fresh flowers in every room. There is a swing on the balcony overlooking the lake and mountains. The dock offers a swimming area complete with a ladder so I might properly and safely climb into the water–and some shallow areas where my granddaughter digs her toes in to find tiny mussels.

View from Brasstown Bald, highest elevation in Georgia

View from Brasstown Bald, highest elevation in Georgia

 

 

As I relax, I take care to preserve the good feeling. For those of you who follow my posts, you know I’m young at heart. My body doesn’t always share that sentiment. With respect for the old gal’s body, I spend many hours just loafing in the lake on an inflatable lounge chair, enjoying the view–and my granddaughter’s antics. I remember to squeeze my glutes (as my physical therapist emphasizes) with each step of our two hikes, one up the shady trail by Anna Ruby Falls and the other on the steep pathway to the highest point in Georgia (Brasstown Bald). I am doing fine and don’t want to spoil it by overdoing things and waking up the boogie monster. But the wooden ledge on the edge of the dock, resting a few inches below the clean water, keeps calling me.

“Flip!” the ledge calls.

I look away. Such a lovely view. So relaxing. . .

“Come on, do it!”

Is it the ledge, or the child inside, or are they conspiring together?

It is the last full day on the lake. “If it hurts,” that kid inside my head reasons, “well, it’s not like you’ve ruined the whole vacation.”

“I’m scared, though. I don’t want to hurt,” the fifty-eight year-old replies.

“It’s water.”

“Hmmm, so it is.” I have no argument. I really want to do it.

So I make a big production (If I cramp up or get dizzy, someone will rescue me, right?).

“Announcing, one and all, the famous flip of the fifty-something fibro-woman!”

My granddaughter stops to look and laughs. Before long the others have come to attention too.

And I do it!

Jumping forward and tucking my head, body, legs. . . over I go. I plunge into the cool support of Lake Chatuge. Muscle memory kicks in. My arms and legs know what to do. I feel the gentle pressure of water on every inch of my body without the support of a float. I feel it help me rise to the surface. My fist goes up in the air and I shout–no, woop–with victory!

And it doesn’t hurt!

 

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Everyone cheers. Then they seem to want to go back to what they were doing. They obviously don’t realize the courage it took, the incredibly wonderful feeling it brings, this flop-of-a-flip-that-looked-more-like-a-somersault-than-a-dive-but-is-so-great-to-me! So I start clapping rhythmically and calling my step-daughter’s name, over and over again. My granddaughter joins in the call for “Mom-mie! Mom-mie! Mom-mie!”

She complies, leaving the comfort of her water lounger, and we all cheer, and before long we are all doing silly jumps and dives and other antics from the dock, cheering one another on.

And it doesn’t hurt!

And I don’t get dizzy or lose muscle control or cramp or drown or die!

Ha!

 

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Vacation is over, now, and as I write this memoir, I lay in bed nursing a strained back that I didn’t get on vacation. This one came as I reached across the bed grappling for the remote control in the dark. Who knew watching TV in bed could be so dangerous? But it will get better. I won’t give up, or give in. I will take good care of myself and get back to functioning soon.

Maybe next time I’ll be more apt to jump in the lake and less apt to reach for the remote!

This summer won’t be remembered for this present back ache. This shall be the summer of the flippin-fun-fifty-eight-year-old!

Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Hiawassee. Thank you, Lake Chatuge. Thank you, Appalachian Mountains. Thank you, family.  Thank you, body, soul and spirit. Thank you, Hanz Tabora at Access Physical Therapy in Jacksonville, Florida: the best physical therapist EVER.

Flippin’ Fun to you,

©Joan T. Warren

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

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Note: some posts deserve a second life. Here’s a repost from last April; what do you think, worthy?

April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

Read the rest of this entry

No Need for Eyes to See This

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This morning my granddaughter put on How to Train Your Dragon.  Again.

I sat nearby, reading and thinking, writing a bit, occasionally paying slight attention to the movie.

“In centuries of Vikings, I’m the first one who wouldn’t kill a dragon,” Hiccup sulked to Astrid. Feeling the failure of not living up to his culture’s expectations, feeling the sting of disappointing his father, Hiccup doubted himself. Astrid saw beyond this temporary setback:

“Yeah, the first one who was right.”

 

Hiccup had decided to spare the dragon when he looked into its eyes and realized, “He was just as afraid as I was.” Hiccup saw with the eyes of his heart.

His compassion, as it turned out, changed everything. It changed his father. It changed his village. It changed dragons. It changed him.

We like to think we are far more advanced than the world of Vikings and dragons. But are we?

Do we see with the eyes of our hearts?

Do we find the good?

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©Joan T. Warren

Passing

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Untimely for we who stay,

Torn in sore lament–

Time and distance

Ne’er to be breached again;

Not from our doing.

Resigned unto eternity

Or waiting to be joined again Read the rest of this entry

Dark Chocolate to my Soul

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First smile from my baby~

Fingertips at my back~

Purple hued sunsets o’er mountain or sea.

A word fitly spoken~

Laughing toddlers at play~

Secret gifts sent before there’s a plea.

Read the rest of this entry

And on and on

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I wait for no one
I am a-wastin’
You cannot stop me

I will tell

I am an illusion
I keep on slippin’ into the future
Procrastination is my thief

If you enjoy wasting me, you will not waste me
I am an equal-opportunity employer
You can’t save me to spend me on another day
If you want me, you must make me

I change things

I am too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love,
I am eternity

I am the most valuable thing a man can spend
I am the coin of your life
Come spend a little with me

I am what keeps everything from happening at once
I have a wonderful way to show you what really matters
I am the clarity for seeing right and wrong

There is a place for me
I’m of the essence
I heal all wounds
I have been kind to thee

There is one of me for every purpose under heaven
I have no dominion over love
I will explain
I am on your side
You had the me of your life

I go on

I am time

I am up,
Time to go.

This, the ultimate in plagarism, a group of sayings related to time, by various famous quippers and long-forgotten cliche-makers, supplemented and arranged by yours truly, to honor my friend, who is ever precious, present, and elusive at once.

Joan T. Warren20140802-104517-38717942.jpg

ROFLMAO

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I can’t remember the last time I actually rolled on the floor, laughing my ass off. Maybe that would explain the slight but ever so definite widening of this writer’s derriere?

This week’s DP Challenge from WordPress prompts us to remember and share the last time we had a “real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh.” Perhaps the editor is in need of a good laugh. Apparently, so am I!

It’s funny you should ask, WordPress. Just yesterday, I wondered aloud (to a confidant) if I may be getting depressed, maybe need a little medication. I’ve been pushing my mind toward gratitude, happiness, enjoyment, and it keeps sliding back into the gutter where sludge hangs out. Sludge like the PLOM’s (poor little ol’ me’s), BLAHS’s (Boy Look at Her Stuff’s) and the POINTY FINGER’s (Projecting Out In Negative Thinking: Your Fault I’m Not Getting Everything Right!).  There’s been a lot of stress in life in the last year, oh, actually make that in the last fifty-six years (yes, I’ll be fifty-seven soon! Maybe that’s reason enough!). Stress, they say, can lead to depression by depleting the serotonin levels over time.

The prescription, so kindly returned, included practical things to improve my mindset, such as mentally rehearsing all I’m grateful for (check), getting enough sleep (un-check), exercising regularly (getting better, check), making time for friends (yeah, right), and, last but not least, laughing.
“Rent a comedy you’re sure will really make you laugh: belly laugh, can’t stop laughing, rolling on the floor laughter. It’s really good medicine!”
I slumped on through the day, the next morning, and then saw the WordPress challenge for the week. Maybe there’s something to this idea, twice in two days coming at me.

So, dutifully, I Googled movies that are sure to make me roll on the floor laughing.

Reading their reviews, I noticed something odd. All, without exception, had a dark side, a tragedy or relationship struggle, a cancer to battle, you know, really un-funny stuff, blended with “hilarious” antics. It made me wonder, Is it funny because we need something to be funny at that moment? Would it still be funny if you take it out of the context of contrasting misery? They say most comedians come from grossly abusive and dysfunctional families, you know. Anyway, I’m not sure that’s the sort of comedy I need right now. None the less, I selected a few that seemed lighter than most. Here’s my list:

Midnight in Paris

Greenberg

Kick-Ass

MacGruber

Seven Psychopaths

Sleepwalk with Me

This is 40

What do you think? Will any of these actually take me there? What funny movie or show do you recommend?

Hopefully at least one of these movies will get me ROFLMAO. Real. Authentic. Tearful. Hearty. Belly Laughs. Then I can tell you why it’s funny.

In the mean time, something happened to remind me that someone around me may need encouragement more than I. It only took a minute to give that person some positive feedback. Guess what? I feel better, for two days now. I think she does too.

So for now, I’ll be happy with feeling better, but I won’t turn down a hearty laugh as soon as it finds me.

Thanks, WordPress!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fjZHcs2bY

©Joan T. Warren

Wife of Stone

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A story of contrast, our WordPress photo challenge for this week.

As we toured our cruise ship last January, it seemed one gentleman found his companion for the trip and brought her a drink! Perhaps the cruise to Cozumel would soften her a bit?

Thanks to my sweet hubby for snapping the shot, and apologies that it may be a bit grainy; he took it from the level above, and I cropped it for today’s post.

Enjoy!
Joan T. Warren

click here for WordPress Weekly Challenge

I Could Have Built a. . .

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I could have built a …
Rainbow
Of the neatly folded laundry,
Or a tower made of
Dishes stacked in gleaming
Rows and columns.

I could have built a
Mansion,
Straightened cupboards,
Cleaned out closets–
Put toilet paper in the bathrooms,
Straighten towels and changed the lightbulbs.

I could have built a
Grand museum–
Carved a sculpture, worked the clay,
Or a masterpiece on canvas
Wielded paintbrush,
Seized the day!

I could have built a
Mighty enterprise,
Just by tackling my desk-work!
Or created global networks
On my twitter, blog or Facebook.

I could have built a
Perfect woman~
Washed my hair
And put on makeup. . .
Or at least a fitness model,
Walked the block and practiced yoga.

I could have built a
Three-course dinner,
Made the kitchen counters glow;
Or at least brewed gourmet coffee–
Drizzled caramel on the top,
Put my feet up, watched my show.

But you came in through the door, dear;
With your face so sweetly shining,
And your love so pure and true–
All I did was spend this hour
Hanging out, enjoying you.

 

Joan T. Warren

Many thanks to Girl in the Hat for a very creative weekly writing challenge: to write a list, then let it flow and change as it desired. This poem began as a list of things I put off to respond to blog writing challenges! It morphed nicely into something rather fun, uplifting, and, hopefully, something we can all relate to. To see other writers’ responses to her challenge, visit WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

On the Move: Church for Introverts

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Fading fast, treasured steps and memories.
Church for introverts.

imageFor WordPress Weekly Photo challenge,On the Move

Joan T. Warren
Randy’s iphone

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

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April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

  • OT is not helping a person find a job and get back to work (though it could include that)
  • OT is not physical therapy (though it includes physical rehabilitation and exercise)
  • OT is not weaving baskets (though we started that way, helping injured Civil War soldiers find their usefulness again)
  • OT is not playing with children (though, if we are doing our job well, it feels like play to the child!)
  • OT is not making crafts in the psych ward (there is a method to their madness!)
  • OT is not a therapist prescribing activities you must do to get better (if it feels that way, we missed the mark)

Misconceptions aside, let’s focus on celebrating the awesomeness!

Occupational therapy IS a health profession that skillfully employs meaningful activities to create and support functional participation for people with challenging conditions. We work in hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, homes, schools, daycare and mental health centers. We facilitate all facets of health with persons, families, companies, communities. . . even societies. As an occupational therapist, I freely, openly and unabashedly admit that I love occupational therapy!

To celebrate National Poetry and Occupational Therapy Month, I offer this, my poem about occupational therapy! As you will soon see, I am more OT than poet.

 

Occupational Therapy

 

An artful blend

of science

and simplicity,

therapeutic

authenticity.

 

Buoyed by heritage,

research, and college:

Intense preparation,

foundational knowledge~

 

There’s anatomy,

physiology,

neurology, too.

Psychology,

kinesiology,

technology, woo!

development and human ecology,

and a little pharmacology, who knew?

 

A touch of gerontology,

anthropology, yes.

Micro- to macro- sociology,

a bit of theology,  God bless.

 

There’s structure

and function,

identity, process,

abilities, unction.

 

There are roles and habits

to assess,

routines and interests

to address.

 

There’s history, framework

and principled theories,

Models and practice,

and, lest you grow weary:

 

Consider relationships,

values, beliefs,

cognition, attention,

caregiver relief.

 

Assessing environment,

ergonomics and means,

selecting equipment,

for elders or teens.

 

We modify, formulate

and make adaptations.

We codify, delegate

and give adulations.

 

All of this knowledge concealed from your view,

we come alongside and spend time with you.

We share in your struggle,

engage your connection;

we want to do more than facilitate function.

For joy, and purpose,

and efficacy too,

are the pillars supporting what humans can do.

 

We’re primed for the NICU,

the preemie-pound baby;

to nestle him, swaddle her,

give hope for what may be.

Teach parents and nurses

to grade stimulation:

his stress signs, her turning. . .

reduce light, sound and touch,

like a womb, for the learning.

Chin tuck, cheek support,

respect gaze aversion;

promoting connection,

’til infant can burgeon.

 

Then, later on,

tummy time,

feeding and play,

motor skills,

reaching,

into something all day.

 

Sensory processing,

modulation and then,

integration for ease

of all systems to blend.

Bringing the just-right challenge,

we grow–

producing responses

in beautiful flow.

 

Developing handwriting,

visual perception,

peer interactions

and social connection.

 

Teens needing special consideration,

peer groups and identity,

with little oration.

Any splint that we form,

or device that we craft

better suit the teen norm

so they won’t feel outcast.

 

On to adulthood,

where the great inclination–

to establish and master,

with keen inspiration,

independence and skill

in the face of impairment.

We come alongside,

being tough, with endearment.

Empowering patience,

setting goals for today,

equipping the wounded

with a will and a way.

 

You’ll find us with elders

wherever the need;

healing with basics

from bathing and dressing, to pulling a weed.

It may seem we’re playing when we bring you your putter,

but we’re really ensuring your balance is better.

“I can cook this at home,”

you may say with assurance.

“Teach me how,” we implore,

(for your safety, endurance).

Whether cooking or eating,

standing or seating,

playing piano, or maybe just listening,

balancing checkbooks

or just reminiscing;

we’re facilitating

what matters to you,

showing your value

whether just be, or do.

 

And then, in the workplace,

the healthcare machine–

equipped here to manage,

so much to convene:

Keeping ethics, best practice

and excellence as key,

we do billing and coding,

document properly.

For without reimbursement,

we could not continue

to make such a difference

For someone–like you.

 

So, in all walks of life

there is some occupation;

we therapists share

this one aspiration:

To be about

the work of imbuing

The beauty of

human beings, doing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did I mention that I love occupational therapy? 😉

Everyone knows someone who needs to hear about OT. Link up, pingback, spread the word! Please, all of you OT’s out there, add a stanza or two and tell us what you do.

 

©Joan T. Warren

AprilPoetryMonth

We’re All Sick of “Don’t,” So. . .

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Don’t tell me another “Don’t,” –please?

 

We’ve all heard “Don’t” enough. We’re numb.

We’re even numb to the “Don’t” messages that matter.

Don’t–I Feel Numb by U2

 

For example, almost every day we hear a commercial reminding us:

Don’t text and drive.

“It can wait,” they say.

Today I counted the number of oncoming cars whose drivers were looking down as they passed me. What would you guess? One? Two? No, in one mile, seven of ten drivers were texting instead of heeding oncoming traffic! Seven. Of ten. The mile included a school zone, a bridge and a playground entrance.

So, yes, I’d say we need those public service reminders. Let’s not be numb-skulls:

Don’t text and drive. It can wait.

Wait,

Don’t leave yet!

There is something else we technology-driven (pun intended) folk do these days with equally disastrous potential. It’s something we readily take for granted because we do it so much. It’s something we do so much because nothing bad happened the other times we did it.

Or, did it?

Little Johnny is excited to show Mommy his art project from school. He made it for her. “Just a sec, hon,” Mommy says,” as Johnny pushes his paper between her face and her phone. “Wait, I said,” as she takes it and lays it on the counter, quickly returning to her phone. Mommy doesn’t notice as John-John slumps off, shoulders curled forward, feet shuffling, lower lip pouting. “Stupid art project,” he sulks.

Betsy is thrilled to see Daddy come to her swim meet today. She’s been doing well; coach says she’s most-improved this season. Perched on the starting platform, she glances at Daddy to see his proud, encouraging look. He is looking down–his fingers steadily tapping away. Betsy misses her start. She fights down the lane, checks her time, checks her Dad. He missed it. He is still texting.

Baby Leila crawls across the floor and pulls up to stand at the coffee table. With brave anticipation, she lets go for the first time and takes a step toward Mommy.  Mommy doesn’t see. She is texting Gramma, sending pictures from this morning’s breakfast, yogurt all over Leila’s head.

We need yet one more public service ad:

Don’t text and parent.

Babies don’t wait. They grow up quickly, with or without us.

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Photos.com

©Joan T Warren

Many thanks to Jordan of Bushel and a Peck, for her post, which spurred this thought.

 

P. S. The author is also preaching to herself.

 

Related Links:

http://time.com/14953/parents-who-use-smartphones-in-front-of-their-kids-are-crankier/

 

On second thought, I think it IS alright to text while parenting IF you text your kid! Check out this hilarious link:

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/reasons-why-parents-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-text

Liebster not Biebster

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This article has absolutely nothing to do with Justin Beiber, shown here turning himself into police on Jan 30, 2014, courtesy of abcnews.com

This article has absolutely nothing to do with Justin Beiber, shown here turning himself into police on Jan 30, 2014, courtesy of abcnews.com

All the talk about what the Biebster is doing wrong again. . .  instead of that, I am going to talk about the Liebster!

imageKhana, of khanasweb.com, was awesome enough to give me the Liebster Award nomination. This award honors quality blogs that have less than 200 followers. I guess she feels I qualify on quality, and my stats tell me I do on the last! As of today, 168 extremely insightful, astute and intelligent people follow this blog! It will be interesting to see if participating in this award will add to that number, but I’ll keep writing even if  just for you wonderful 168!

In order to comply with the nomination, though, I need to answer Khana’s ten questions–hers, not someone’s who started it 10,000 posts ago! I decided to turn them about and give them to you from #10, countdown fashion, to #1. After you get through this incredibly interesting material, you will find links to those I’d like to pass the nomination on to, and the ten challenging questions I thought would be great to know about them.

Here goes!

10. Describe yourself in a Haiku. (A three line verse of seventeen syllables, traditionally five, seven, five, but this is flexible).

Simple yet complex
Compassionate yet boundaried
Gentle, wild and true

Did that tell you much? Well, it’s a start. Let’s jump into the weightier questions–

Read the rest of this entry

Reblog of my Daughter’s Amazing Post Today

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You’ve read here about my daughter a bit, and you’ve seen some of my daughter’s photography. Now, be blown away with her most recent post:

http://theopenbench.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-yellow-brick-road.html

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

She is amazing. I love her so much–I am spilling with clichés to try to tell you, but I guess you can imagine, if you read this.

© Joan T Warren

I Feel Cherokee

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My Great-Great Grandmother Elizabeth Sophia Grey. Eastern Tribe. Can you help me find her true identity? She likely changed her last name at least.

My Great-Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Sophia Grey. Eastern Tribe. I believe she changed her last name. Do you know her?

I feel Cherokee.

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Shrouded in secrecy after hiding from Indian Removal in the 1800’s, my 1900’s family seemed unable to pass on important information to support our Cherokee heritage. We can trace all directions but this one.

Though just a small percentage runs through these veins, my Cherokee blood is mighty. I feel it when I look at the sky, when I walk near great waters, when I head toward the mountains, when I read their stories.

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I feel Cherokee.

I feel Cherokee values, these from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation website:

  • Spirituality, which creates a bond among Cherokee people in good times and bad, and is a source of hope.
  • Group harmony in community and kin relationships, and freely sharing and giving time, talent and treasures.
  • Strong individual character, with integrity, honesty, perseverance, courage, respect, trust, honor and humility.
  • Strong connection with the land and commitment to stewardship of the homelands of the Cherokee.
  • Honoring the past by knowing one’s ancestors, identifying with and belonging to the tribe, and living and preserving Cherokee culture.
  • Educating the children by providing values-oriented education and recreation, and by being strong role models for them.
  • Possessing a sense of humor, which can lighten pressure in serious situations and help people make good decisions.
Mary Agnes Grey Burris, my Great Grandmother

Mary Agnes Grey Burris, my Great Grandmother

Not knowing these values were Cherokee, they have been my values–except that I don’t know my ancestors. Not yet.

I want to know my ancestors. As a garden bed needs turning, I  feel the need to dig into the rich soil of those who have gone before.

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I feel Cherokee.

I feel Cherokee land. My husband and I sometimes dream about different places in the world we may like to retire to. When we are finally free of the commitments we have to our present locale, where will we land? Where is home? We could go anywhere.

Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

The land that feels like home, though I wasn’t born or raised there, is the land of the Cherokee. It was their homeland for unknown centuries, until immigrants (whom they largely welcomed and helped) forcibly drove them out of it. Former leaders of our United States misled them, broke promises and cheated them out of their homeland. Now they have reservations. It all used to be theirs.

Winter in Higher Elevations, Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

Winter in Higher Elevations, Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

My daughter moved to their region recently. Nearly every day she posts pictures on Instagram, and expresses her pure joy and love for these mountains. I am moved. I can’t help but click ‘like’ on every photo! We love that land. We want it protected, nourished and cherished. We look forward to knowing and loving the people as well. If you would like to see more of her inspiring photography, you can follow her on Instagram, she is DENESIACHRISTINE.

Wildflowers in Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

Wildflowers in Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

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I feel Cherokee.

I feel Cherokee history and culture. I love the way Cherokees welcomed and worked with settlers. I’m intrigued by their prophetic awareness of the Great Spirit, how they saw peril coming from the new people, yet they embraced them, believing in a greater good in the long run. I endorse their respectful practices regarding hunting, caring for all living things and wasting nothing. I love how their “good medicine” includes healthy relationships.

I have much to learn about and from the Cherokee. As I write my first novel, I will be doing just that. One of the main characters in my upcoming novel is Cherokee. We will explore and learn in and through her character. I hope to learn important information to support my family’s Cherokee heritage for future generations, and to support the Cherokee nation as a whole.

I feel Cherokee. It feels good. I hope you’ll enjoy feeling Cherokee with me.

©Joan  T. Warren

To begin learning more about Cherokee, and Appalachian history,  try these links:

http://www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/655-at-long-last-cherokee-telling-their-own-story

http://appalachianstudies.org/resources/docs/97whisnant63.html

Last Days of Sweet Sixteen

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There is a lot of talk lately about the last days. The last days of President Kennedy’s life in this 50th anniversary of his death, the last days of confidence in the USA being the strongest country in the world, the last days of planet Earth as we approach the Apocalypse, you know, that sort of thing. Somehow, I got to thinking about the last days of being sixteen. Perhaps it’s because my granddaughter, who is coming to visit this Thanksgiving, turns seventeen in January. Wow, it’s hard to believe, already, these are the last days of sixteen for her.

Remember being sixteen? I do.

My mother told me that it was very important to have a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party, actually, a “Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed Party.” I was probably about six at the time, and this thought captivated me. I pictured myself at that Exciting Party, turning sixteen. I would be tall and thin, like Barbie. Read the rest of this entry

Faulty Fault Lines–When Bad Things Happen to Little People

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Janie smiled through her tears and put her arms around Stella.

“How do you do it, Stella? You always seem to find a way to help me put things in perspective when I get like this. I wish I had your confidence! I wish I could stay on top of things the way you do; you never seem to let people push you around, yet you’re not a bully either.”

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Composing herself after at least thirty minutes of crying and talking, Janie now felt better. She sat back in her seat and picked up her coffee mug, her favorite mug, which she loved for its heft, its shape and its ability to channel those amazing aromas right where she needed them most. She felt now that she had some good ideas about how to tackle the problem. “Really, Stella, how DO you do it? Were you just born this way?”

Stella sipped her coffee, too. She loved it when someone took the time to ask her deeper questions. Though she’d never broadcast her life or push her opinions, she felt deeply rewarded when she was able to help another. It was as though all her troubles were worth it.

Well, Stella divulged, “I wasn’t always as I am today. One of my old trademarks was that I used to think everything was my fault–and nothing was my fault!”

I was quick to apologize for anything someone else was unhappy about, as if I were responsible for the world, but slow to see things that actually were my responsibility.

Rain on your wedding day? I’m sorry. Mad at your boss? I’m sorry. Lightning struck your Uncle Milford? I’m so sorry. You’re home from work early and hungry because you didn’t stop for lunch and I didn’t have a premonition about this and fix your dinner early? I’m sorry. Here, let me drop my work, mid-sentence, and get right on that.

Then, on the other hand, nothing that I really did was ever MY fault!

Oh, I’m late for work? Well, boss, it’s not really MY fault.  I had to make breakfast for my family, get the laundry started, stop what I was doing every time someone couldn’t find their socks, walk the dog when everyone left without doing it, stop at the store so there would be coffee in the break room, and then drive my aunt to the dry cleaner–yes, she had an emergency apparel deficiency.

Geez, why can’t my boss understand that, doesn’t she have a family? I would think.

Stella smiled as she animated these stories. They were true for her, she had lived in that realm for so many years. She looked at Janie, who smiled back, waiting for more of her story.

Well, after about two or three THOUSAND people said I shouldn’t apologize so much, I slowly started to think maybe there might be something wrong with me (Oh, and I’ve been sorry about that too, two or three thousand times).

But what could it be? I thought. What’s wrong with being nice? I’m empathetic, dedicated, loyal, helpful, sensitive, compassionate, considerate. . . What’s so bad about that?

Plenty! Well, actually, nothing, as long as that’s REALLY what you are. Peel away the nice facade, though, and what did I find? The real reason I had such a hard time recognizing what I was truly responsible for. . . the real reason I defended myself when I truly was responsible for doing something wrong. . . the real reason I tried so hard to be so nice, empathetic, dedicated, loyal, helpful, sensitive, compassionate and considerate. . . was my inner wretch!

Underneath it all, I felt completely ashamed of who I was. I was a wretch.

Wretch, according to Miriam-Webster:

a miserable person;

one who is profoundly    

unhappy or in great misfortune

 

II was miserable on the inside. I felt as though I were less than everyone around me.

Why would a young woman (yes, I was young once), with such admirable qualities feel so miserable inside? I was living out of a self-concept that was seriously flawed.

If you said I was pretty, I’d say, “Yeah, pretty ugly.”

They both chuckled.

“I know what you mean,” Janie offered. “I never in a million years would have guessed you felt that way about yourself. You’re beautiful, and you seem so confident.”

Thanks; it’s true, though. I felt ugly on the inside because I bought into some seriously wretched lies about myself when I was a girl.

Where did those lies come from?

What it boiled down to, after digging deep into the soil of my innermost thoughts and feelings, is that the lies came from trying to figure out why bad things happened to me.

READER WARNING: From here we will talk a little about those bad things. If you’re feeling brave today, click for more–

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New Menu Topic

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possible looking down to say we dont talk about those things“My dear,”

she whispered as she peered down over her bifocals

to the little one fearfully looking up to her for help,

girl looking up for help 2

“These are not the sort of things people talk about.”

This new category/menu heading is dedicated to those things.

Because silence is not always golden.

©JoanTWarren

Poetry Page

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Poetry bears opportunity,

                                 emotion,

                                            imagery,

                                                       rhythm,

                                                                    thought

                                                                              and freedom.

Boundless expression, relation, connection

                                                              and dreams, at once.

Here, my heart encapsulated, spoken, declared.

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Reflections glimmering

as sun on water;

this page, dedicated to poetry,

old and new,

deep and light,

heart to heart.

©Joan T. Warren

A Delicate Strength

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Above the tree line, frigid wind, snow and ice sever all but the most adapted life forms.

In this harsh environment, against all expectation, alpine wildflowers paint the rocky terrain with vibrant hues of pink, purple, white and yellow:

National Park Service, Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Flower
Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Flower

Colors we typically associate with femininity–

certainly not our definition of rugged.
 
 
Courtesy Andy Baird, Travels with Gertie
Courtesy Andy Baird, Travels with Gertie

Though the largest clusters are one to two inches tall and less than a foot in diameter, most are miniscule–those pictured here, just an eighth of an inch! These tiny beauties have the power to attract attention despite intense competition from endless mountain views and pristine open skies:

Miniature stature we typically deem picayune–
certainly not our definition of majestic.

Sometimes needing several years to produce their brilliant best, they bloom as long as they’re able, which is sometimes just a day, a week, perhaps a month at most, then rest for the long winter. If damaged by caribou, moose or tourist, it may take years to recover the wound.

This level of productivity we might typically judge as insubstantial, flimsy–certainly not our definition of efficient or prolific.

Yet who among us could survive the throes of an alpine home?

Rocky Mountain National Park – National Park Service

How is it, then, these dainty fairies thrive amidst frozen, barren, wind-torn and rocky terrain? Read the rest of this entry